As the nation’s largest Independence Day fireworks display, July 4th in New York City will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the millions of people drawn to the waterfront next Wednesday for a patriotic party that eclipses all others.
But with nearly 3 million revelers at Macy’s “Ignite the Night” comes the possibility of getting lost in the crowd. So we have a few tips for those seeking to celebrate July 4th in New York City this year:
- The fireworks are scheduled to start after sunset, at approximately 9 p.m., and will last nearly a half-hour. They will be set off on four barges located in the Hudson River between 18th Street and 43rd Street along Manhattan’s West Side.
- On land, the best place to watch the fireworks display will be anywhere on the northbound West Side Highway or Twelfth Avenue from 22nd to 59th Streets. Both will be closed to traffic at 2 p.m., when the giant block party begins. (Access the street party via Eleventh Avenue at the following cross streets: 24th Street, 26th-27th Streets, 29th Street, 33rd-34th Streets, 40th Street, 42nd Street, 44th Street, 50th Street, 52nd Street, 54th Street and 56th-57th Streets).
- Patience is a virtue when planning to attend fireworks in NYC: you’ll need to claim your viewing spot before sundown (we suggest arriving around 5 p.m. or even earlier!), but the New York Police Department doesn’t allow people in the area to bring lawn chairs, backpacks or coolers, so expect to stand or sit on the ground while you wait.
- People with disabilities can avoid the crowds at the main viewing location and instead head to De Witt Clinton Park (at 52nd Street and Eleventh Ave), which is officially reserved for people with disabilities.
- For people hoping to avoid the crowds at the West Side Highway block party, please note there will be a few parks and piers closed to the public on July 4th: All Hudson River Park piers will be closed — except for Pier 84 (at 44th Street), which will likely fill up early. Likewise, the Hudson River Park promenade and bike path between Houston and 59th Streets may also be closed for the July 4th fireworks display.
- The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum offers a prime viewing spot for those willing to pay extra for VIP seating (separately ticketed) on the aircraft carrier or pier, and a simulcast of the concert. (Avoiding the crowds on Twelfth Avenue: priceless!).
- On the water, there are several options for those people who are less than thrilled at the prospect of standing around for five hours just to reserve a few square inches of pavement. The Hornblower hosts two dinner cruises on Fourth of July: the 4.5-hour Flagship Fourth of July cruise, which serves a five-course dinner, and the Red, White and Cruise, which is accompanied by a buffet dinner complete with unlimited beer and wine, as well as DJ and dancing. The Circle Line is likewise running fireworks cruises, as well as a July 4th Pier Party, complete with music, carnival games, barbecue, and amazing views of the fireworks display from Circle Line’s 42nd Street Pier.
- Dubbed “America’s Mixtape,” the synchronized soundtrack to this year’s fireworks display can be heard on the local radio stations 1010 WINS and Fresh 102.7. Tune in to experience the full effect of 40,000 fireworks launched to patriotic favorites and hit pop songs.
- Macy’s, the sponsor behind NYC’s famed Fourth of July fireworks display, has a free fireworks app available for iPhone, iPad and Google Play. Use it to check out behind-the-scenes videos, the musical score and handy info to make it easier to enjoy this year’s display. Click here to find the app!
How will you enjoy the 4th of July fireworks?